The Curious Case of Tropical Beach, or, ‘Why this ridiculous LB deck will never top in Japan’

I dislike writing deck techs. They don’t cover the deckbuilding process appropriately and oftentimes are done by people who only skim over a deck’s gameplan. That is the reason why you’ve not seen deck techs from this blog, even though they would be extremely easy things to churn out as clickbait. Trust me, I’m great at brewing funny decks, but I don’t think that’s what the community needs. They need proper analysis and insight. At the same time, something informative like a full set review is extraordinarily difficult to write. Not only are they long and arduous by nature, but people who want to play a set tend to either already have insight into WS (and therefore don’t really need the reviews), or are complete beginners looking to start their favourite series (and therefore will not get much from an in-depth review). It’s a fine line to tread, which is why I’ve turned this article from a deck tech with frills to an examination of a deck archetype that I feel is unfairly good, and also supremely unrepresented. The deck in question is Little Busters’ YGB meta build, with the notable inclusion of the promo +2 soul climax.

In most cardgames, some of the best decks are either supremely interactive or supremely uninteractive. They capitalise on either their ability to provide versatile catch-all answers/threats, or their ability to go completely unanswered. The best of the best decks, however, will be a fine mix of both. Not only are their threats extremely difficult to stop and interact with, but they have excellent all-purpose answers. That is the sort of deck I view LB YGB as. Not only is its main gameplan at Level 0-1 extremely difficult to do anything against, but its finishers are very diverse and difficult to mitigate. It has optional hate cards that help mitigate some of its worse matchups, and money counters speak for themselves.

I want this article to be a launching pad, not a guide. LB is an extremely deep set with many options, and delving into this set will take time and money. However, barring any unforeseen restrictions by BSR, I believe this to be one of the most powerful sets in the game – and if you’ve read my prior articles on tiers and the like, you’ll know that’s pretty high praise.

(I say very close because it has changed in the week or so since starting this article). It is noticeably different from , and while I respect his choice and accomplishment, I will be contrasting my card selections with his in order as part of discussion. If the man himself is reading this, don’t take offence. I believe your build was an excellent choice for the time, but there are quite a few things I would do differently, especially given the addition of the +2 souls.

this gif is an arbitrary divider to break the monotony, and has nothing to do with the fact that i really need to get some sleep

As per deck tech format, I will be discussing each card, but I’ll be going into rather obnoxious detail on some of these cards, as I feel every single card has something extremely important to contribute. When it comes to WS, there is no proper, comprehensive way to do a deck tech. Every card should be played and considered with every other card in mind. The best I can really do is go chronologically by level, but this method really has a lot of flaws. I’ll start with Level 0.

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The very first card I’ll talk about is an obscenely powerful four-of. Riki has been $20 for a long time, and it is very easy to see why. His effect is mostly used to get more 1/0 Rin into hand, because once you hit a critical mass of them and go off with the climax, you will be set for the entire game. That’s not to say you can’t get other things – the fact you can get your brainstorm Haruka, your 1/1 Kyousuke support, a clock encore or even another Riki means that you have as many options as you could really want. If you are climax screwed, you probably want to go straight for the Haruka brainstorm, but I’ve made deckbuilding choices that lessen the load somewhat. Even though he is an extraordinarily cheap +1, you only have so many windows in which you can use him, so stop and think when you play him. 1/0 Rin may not be the right thing to fetch.

Riki is even more important than usual in this deck because you want to be playing climaxes very frequently, and that’s a natural loss of card advantage. Gaining +1 from his effect helps mitigate that very nicely. The extra damage from his cost barely even matters most of the time, because you’re either accelerating to Level 1 faster or preparing for a soul rush that will more than make up for it. The last reason he’s so important is because he’s Blue, and is therefore natural fixing for the money counter. It’s honestly just the cherry on top, but by gosh if it isn’t a tasty cherry. It’s quite obvious why you want four of this card.

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The next card is one of the best bombs in the game: Yuiko. I’m not going to bore you with how good anti-runner bombs are, but I may as well get it out there. Many suiciders become pretty worthless lategame, and the ones that retain utility are generally well-received. LB actually does have a bomb that does that – Kanata from Card Mission is excellent in the lategame, but is a lot worse than Yuiko early on. Still, given I brought the point up, it’s apparent Yuiko doesn’t actually do very much later on… or so you would think. In a deck intending to play +soul climaxes liberally, her anti-movement ability can function as a strange sort of card advantage. Locking a large Level 1 in front of her by siding with a climax play is one of those cute little niche plays you might think about, but rarely actually do. In this deck, however, it comes up surprisingly often. You can occasionally force your opponent to commit more resources they otherwise would not have. Even though they will probably still wipe your field, it means that they’re playing out something they would rather not have played, which can gradually decrease the quality of cards in their hand. That being said, your major role for her still is as an anti-runner bomb. She doesn’t even fix for colour, but her near-absolute power in the earlygame is easily enough to warrant a fairly high count. 3 is fine – enough to reliably draw them in time to hose bombs, which is the main thing you care about. 4 is just overkill.

Your choice of Level 0 suicider is honestly dependent on your local metagame. You can go with Yuiko if there’s a lot of runner sets, such as Nisekoi, Railgun or Da Capo. The bomb is the best lategame bomb, so consider it if all you want is a bomb effect. is especially effective at dealing with Level 0 Encore cards and the various field-based antiheals, plus she fixes for a relevant colour. Lastly, you can choose not to run bombs at all, though I think Yuiko is worth playing for the reasons mentioned above.

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The next card is another one that doesn’t fix for colour at all, but instead fills an extremely vital role. Enter . I’ve dodged the issue of talking about brainstorms’ benefits several times, and I will continue to do so here, because I type enough as is. Haruka’s main roles in this deck are to help you cycle through the deck faster, occasionally handfix, and to help you replay your plussing characters if the chance arises. If you get stuck with multiple +2 souls in hand but a shortage of 1/0s (your other ones having died, being 4.5k and everything), paying one or more stock for a chance at another swing is a perfectly fine proposition. The Level 1 combo is just that ridiculous. I’ve had people ask me how I have so constantly have so many 1/0 Rins to throw at them, and this card is a big reason why. While it isn’t a plussing brainstorm of the sort many players like to crutch on, it’s extremely effective at both winning more and stopping you from being blown out by  climax screw, and for that reason I run 2. Many lists run the one, but this card is just amazing a lot of the time, and it’s fine when it’s not amazing.

The main reason I don’t run a is because I just don’t think it’s necessary. The only real upside is the fact you can occasionally get a money counter from clock, and if you’re that desperate for money counters, you can either run the to guarantee a clock swap, or you can just run more of the money counter itself. As for the fact that it plusses… if you aren’t managing to maintain a hand with a deck running 4 Riki, 4 Rin and some number of clock encores, there’s probably a more pressing problem at hand.

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LB can actually go without Level 0 beaters, but having a few is fine. This card is totally interchangeable with the from LBA, depending on whether you want a 3.5k on defence (to occasionally squeeze in a free plus if they whiff bombs and fatties) or a one-shot removal for a 4k (especially valuable if 4k +1 level standalones populate your area). The main point is that it fixes for Green. Competing for power at Level 0 isn’t high on my list of things to do with this deck, but having at least a few green cards to streamline your Level 1 dual-colour combo is an absolute necessity. You could totally replace these with utility, like the aforementioned Kud brainstorm, the Rin & Komari assist or the from Card Mission (yes, that card actually is playable, but if you look closely it’s worse than the Rin & Komari assist in 99% of situations).

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We’re getting to the cards that ooze personal preference. I enjoy having the one because the extra 3k out of nowhere can really mess with people, and the guaranteed clock kick on a costless body is just so good. You often want to leave your board clear of any low-power targets, and this has some pretty good synergy with the 3/2 Sasami on that front. I feel like I want to run two, but every time I do I’m underwhelmed, so I’ve settled on just the one. You could easily go down to none and play other cards, like the Mio I’m about to talk about, or that 0/0 Komari which pumps a Level 1> on attack. I just think the extra 3k is a nail in the coffin enough of the time to warrant its inclusion.

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This Mio is a card I always wish I could play more of. Not only does it provide a free handfix, but it can dig deeper and draw you into climaxes, which this deck definitely wants at least a couple of. It also fixes for Blue. I don’t know what else to say about it, it’s just a really good card. If any cards at Level 0 aren’t quite pulling their weight for you, chuck another one of these in. It’s just that good.

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Yuiko is here for a couple reasons. The first is that her 2-cost ability proliferates into a full field. Pay it, search a Riki, pay Riki’s cost, and suddenly you’re soul rushing again. You can also get 1/1 Kyousukes and Level 3s with it, which is nice, I guess. I actually consider this a crisis management card more than anything else. It’s a pretty hefty use of stock, but it’s a great way to deal with over-cancelling at Level 1 and being stuck with Level 2+s and nothing else. The second niche bit is that she’s an Assist effect, if you decide that a power-based Level 1 is somehow the way to go (this is extremely rare, anything that you should be powering up 5ks against probably lost to you in the power game anyway). It is nice if you want to capitalise off the stockcharge Haruka, or something. The 500 power was a lot more relevant in the 2k1s variant of the deck, but the former ability has continued to be good enough to warrant inclusion.

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This is where I feel I’m getting too cute. This card is not one known to many players, and for good reason. It’s a ridiculous corner case card. Basically, all it does is give the cards in front of it the ‘untargetable’ clause. The only things this will really prevent are antidamage and bounce. There’s almost nothing the opponent will ever want to bounce in the frontrow, but nullifying antidamage is really quite relevant. It effectively immunises your Kyousukes in the mirror/vs Da Capo, and it makes Compasses significantly less effective (they’re still pretty good though, this doesn’t mitigate it completely). I play it because I’m insane, but it does tilt the KC match a fair bit more in your favour.

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You play 4 of this. Almost everything on this list is debatable, but this is non-negotiable. This card is the major reason LB’s yellow is anything to write home about. It’s an altered version of the ever-popular Shimakaze, except it’s not anything like Shimakaze – it’s so much easier to use. KC can be countered with… well, counters. If you wall up, they need either a Shimakaze Kai, or have to bang their head sadly against your 9k fatties. If you don’t have cards on the field, then Shimakaze gets stuck in the hand, waiting for a chance to pounce. Rin doesn’t have this issue at all, and can get multiple searches without a care in the world.

The fact you don’t need to kill anything brings me to the next awesome thing about this card – it combos with either a +2 soul or a 2k1s. While the latter may seem tempting, don’t be fooled. The +2 soul play is so much stronger that it isn’t even a worthwhile comparison. The reason 2k1s is a good climax is that you don’t lose hand when playing it, and frequently gain partial card advantage – letting a card cleanly beat something you would have otherwise lost to or traded with. When your +2 soul play gets you as much card advantage as the 2k1s, the upside to 2k1s becomes less and less relevant compared to the raw power of the +2 soul. A somewhat underappreciated problem I found with the 2k1s version is that your damage started to become extremely lacking if you whiffed your global soul climax on the next turn. You are literally pulling out soul triggers from your deck, so you are dealing less damage on average to your opponent’s still-uncompressed deck.

The main targets you will have for this will be your 3/2 Kyousuke, 3/2 Sasami, and your antiheal. I personally have some Level 2s to search out, because I mostly dislike how Kyousuke plays as an advance summon. You have to keep in mind how many searchable targets are left in the deck at all times, and that includes remembering what goes into stock. There’s no worse feeling than ending up with 5 cards in hand because you threw three Rins down and only had one legal target in the deck.

The issue many people have with this card is that it can’t search Level 1s. That’s a fair critique, especially to those who are used to Marika or Shimakaze itself. Being unable to get replacement Level 1s or replacement costless cards is occasionally problematic, but there’s a reason we play the Haruka brainstorm, not to mention Riki and clock encores. These cards serve as a backup plan both if you whiff your combo, and if you somehow overextend with your combo and end up at Level 1 with nothing but Level 3s in hand. More importantly, the skill in using this combo is in stopping this from happening, and to adjust the cards you play and the things you clock, just to cover your bases.

This card is truly ridiculous and utterly underappreciated.

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The next card is actually an extremely important secondary attacker for the deck. The requirements for being a backup attacker for this deck are simple – preferably be yellow, and cost nothing. It turns out that the occasional option to clock encore (when you cancel a lot, or when you just don’t have other costless cards) is a lot better than the additional 1k afforded by some of the other options, especially because 6k still isn’t very big unless you support it heavily, and because it really doesn’t matter how big you are when you’re siding for 2. A rather unassuming card, but it fulfills a thoroughly necessary role, and for that, Sasami, thanks.

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This is one of the cards that got a lot of hype coming off from the Refrain release. Kyousuke’s effect is magnitudes of power stronger than Hatsukaze’s, and actually prevents salvages – as opposed to Hatsukaze, who gives the opponent to treat her as a sort of antidamage. It ended up failing to make a splash anywhere near as big as that of his costless brethren, but that’s partly because KC is just a far more popular set. The one cost sucks, and the assist effect is near-worthless in many matchups when you consider the card’s natural home. Still, this card is what will save you in quite a few otherwise-terrible matchups. Its simple existence on the field will give many players pause for thought – Nisekoi, Rewrite, Railgun and iDOLM@STER are the main sets that you will prioritise getting this card out against, but it’s great against a lot of decks, especially the random ones that still play eight gates. A fairly good card, but I view it more as a necessary evil than anything else.

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This fairly innocuous card can be absolutely monstrous at times. Enter Haruka, who is your ticket to 20-stock games where you basically never die. If you can manage your stock correctly, she’s actually a win condition through compression. I’ve made Haruka sound like a win-more card, but it’s not as if it’s bad when you aren’t in a dominant position. She’s still in a primary colour and she’s not at all necessary to the central gameplan.

I’ve talked about how power isn’t very useful in this deck, but that doesn’t mean you’re never going to reverse things. You probably won’t be getting a lot of stockcharges at Level 1, but once you hit Level 2, it’s actually quite easy to set up kills. If you can get 2 or 3 bonus stock with Haruka, that’s effectively an extra money counter, or an extra Kyousuke you can throw down. The big issue with this card is that you get blind stockcharges. Yes, you do often charge climaxes, especially post-refresh, but that’s why you make sure that your keep the blind stock as close to the top as possible – preferably at the very top of your stock pile, or the second one from the top. This only really matters if you aren’t planning to toss down a money counter on the backswing, but it’s still something you should keep in mind. That aside, she’s also a 1/0 attacker who carries +2 soul just as well as any other costless card, which is actually a pretty strong upside. I firmly believe this to be the best stockcharge engine that LB can employ, and I have tested the Rin 2/1 and Empty Dinner quite extensively.

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I feel that people aren’t valuing the antiheal effect highly enough anymore. It’s still extraordinarily powerful security against those pesky opposing heals, and is a powerful assist effect to boot. There’s not much else to say about it – it often guarantees a win against decks like ZnT and DC Seitokai. The 2-count is actually an increased number – I used to run just the one while KC was king, because Hibiki’s existence killed heals more effectively than any in-game mechanic could. It’s still perfectly defensible to run just the one, and you can easily use the extra room for another 1/0 Rin target.

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I think that a 2/1 counter is still necessary, mostly because it helps you get more value out of your Kyousukes (which regress to 10k vanillas after they swing for the first time), and because it’s an extra defence against restanders and clock kicks. I’m extremely unhappy that they didn’t use the sacrifice cost for the antichanger effect, and as such I’m drifting back towards using Yuiko & Haruka, even though I rarely use that card’s secondary effect either – that’s stock that could be going towards money counters, after all.

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This card is a gem I’ve taken a liking to as of late. It’s the best 2/2 cleaner LB has to offer, as it tends to be a rather ridiculous 12-14k base against anything with 2-soul. Its own 2 soul is as fantastic as always. The main reason this is so good is because it’s a non-committal splash that forces a trade with common cards like 3/2 Onodera, 3/2 Maki and the GFB advance summons, even without supports or climax plays. It can even force a counter from the blue ‘gain 4k on opponent draw step’ cards, which is honestly pretty crazy. It’s a great search target if you know your opponent is playing advance summons, and it’s still a strong 11k against high-powered Level 1s.

The downside to this card is obviously the fact it bolsters your opponent’s soul count. This problem is mitigated pretty significantly by the next card we’ll talk about, and can even be interpreted as an upside – if your opponent wants to kill this card with a Level 3, they’ll be swinging for 3 soul instead of 2, which is that much easier to cancel.

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This would be one of the reasons to buy into LB at all. I hold these in my hand from turn 1 more often than I’d like to admit. Actually, you know what? I’m happy admitting that. 3 isn’t cleanly enough to reliably draw them, so I won’t throw them away if I don’t have to. Simply having money in your hand is basically like having Counterspell. You just feel safe. Marika is reduced to swinging for one damage total, Musashi and Yamato are at least partially nullified, and MisaKuro needs to come off the damn restriction list. While these are all value plays with the money counter, simply tossing it at opponents ramming for 1 is probably just as valuable. I don’t know how obvious what I’m about to say really is, but higher amounts of damage are more likely to be cancelled naturally, meaning that using money counter on the 1 damage swing is often the correct play. Yes, 5 damage is scary, but if you’re at 3.4 and your opponent still has two 3-soul swings to come, it’s smarter to let it through.

The 3 stock cost is one of the big disparities this deck has in comparison to KC’s Compass – the premier play for that deck was playing several Akagis, drawing into multiple Compasses, and then just being as safe as you can really be in a normal WS game. The fact that you have to struggle for more than the one money counter (one per game is quite reliable) is a bit of a problem, but at the same time, you can push for game so fiercely that it often doesn’t matter – you’re also most likely ahead in the damage race anyway, courtesy of your climax plays.

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Kyousuke is a no-strings-attached finisher – one of two that you play in the YGB deck. It’s at 4 while Sashimi is at a 3-count because you can sometimes cheat him into play early and have him occupy a lane for the rest of the game. It’s also a lot less pressure on the hand to throw down multiple Kyousukes as opposed to multiple Sadomis. The Musashi effect is as good as ever – basically guaranteeing at least one more damage and pushing your opponent one step closer to their inevitable death (as written by Kanata). You have to be very aware of what sets have ways to play around Kyousuke – DC, KC, LB, MK, SS and LH. Persona and FT have roundabout methods as well. Against these sets, you should think very carefully about when to use Kyousuke, if at all. LH and SS in particular demand that you focus more on Sidisi instead.

It’s really not an issue to just throw this guy down and assume he’ll do work. He will.

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Salena is one of the best unassisted clock kicks in the game, simply because she’s so damn generic. The requirement for an extra 2k power is hilariously easy, and the fact you pay the cost after the clock kick (and not on-play) is extremely good (albeit a tad antisynergistic with her power requirement), simply because you can confirm whether or not you need to pay at all. Oh, and she’s in a fine colour for the series. Being 12k on the swingback is great against most restanders, and makes for a (slight) obstacle to opposing clock kicks. Remember to keep Sadako in a side row, lest you get run over by a Marika with multiple assists behind her.

The issue with focusing heavily on Sabrina for your endgame is that she *will* get quite hand-intensive, and your major advantage engines will probably have had their run by the time you get to using her. You won’t often be filling your hand up a lot without taking additional clock damage. This has literally never been an issue for me so long as I’ve adjusted to how the game goes – if you play it right and get Kyousukes when you need to, you will consistently have just enough cards in hand to close out the game while still keeping a backup finisher or money counter in reserve. This is honestly a tad undesirable. However, since it happens so damn often, it has since become (in my opinion) the mark of a fine-tuned deck. On that note, the extra endgame hand cards garnered from triggering bars is one of the major reasons I choose to play bar climaxes over the wind climaxes that the US winning deck favoured.

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Riki is a cute card, and you do often have the opportunity to get mileage out of either (or both) of his effects. The issue, however, is that you cannot ever afford to prioritise him with 1/0 Rin – either you’re grabbing a Kyousuke for early play potential, getting an antiheal to consolidate your finishing push, or rounding off your hand with a Sasasasasasawa. It’s rare that you will be focusing around him at Level 3, but if you’ve managed to keep a brainstorm handy, you can often grab him from your bin if you happen to have the bar climax in hand, or if you just want that +3k power. The 3k gets you past counter range on a surprising number of things, and worst case scenario, you treat Riki as a 13k that trades for your opponent’s counter.

The climax combo itself isn’t really an advantageous play. All it does is heal under antiheal, and the bar trigger on the climax is the real reason I play the bars in the first place. While the old build of the deck focused around the combo, this version of the deck is a lot greedier – you only really use the effect if the stars align naturally, or if you’re at 3.6 and need to not die by refresh.

It’s very reasonable to toss in a Komari heal (or any blue heal) in this card’s place, but I would continue to use bars regardless.

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The climax choices for this deck are actually somewhat contentious. The +2 souls are a fixed 4-of mainstay, and are around half of the reason the deck is so bloody degenerate. Teching any number of 2k1s in is a bad idea. I don’t care that the colours match, I don’t care that you occasionally get to bash over things, I don’t care that you like in-built cantrips. Just don’t do it unless it’s out of necessity (read: you don’t have a full playset of the +2 soul). If you don’t have the +2 souls, the deck is probably straight-up worse than the (admittedly quite strong) Twins.dec.

The secondary climax is where it gets interesting. First, do not even think about playing climaxes without a global soul buff. There is no reason to fill the deck with more random 2-soul triggers, and there definitely isn’t any reason to give up on pushing damage in a deck that races this well. Cutting gates out of the equation, we’re left with Shot, Bounce, Bag, Bar, Book and Pants.

As always, we want to examine the climax combos. There are no good Bag or Book combos, and neither of those triggers are so good that they automatically trump the others. That only leaves Shot, Bounce, Bar and Pants.

The only shot combo worth thinking about is the Level 3 Rin. We already have too many good, non-combo finishers to bother playing many of those. It was worth thinking about before Card Mission dropped, but now it’s just not worth it. It’ll be a vanilla heal most of the time, because you damn well aren’t playing the change (or the bonder to the change, or any level supports to keep it fat once you change). The shot trigger itself is fine, but your finisher power isn’t exactly weak to begin with.

Bounce was the favoured combo in the US Nats build. It’s fairly easy to see why – the 2/1 Yuiko effect matched up quite well against Nisekoi, which crutched on 3/2 Onodera (easily overwhelmed by a 14k+ Yuiko) and occasionally on 1/0 clock encores (which fall to the same). It also did very well against LH’s Akatsuki, KC’s Yahagi, LL’s Umi and the entirety of Angel Beats. The only other bounce combo even worth thinking about is from the LB Vanilla set – a 1/0 that had a command bounce effect. However, I don’t think there’s enough stuff that gets poached by bounce effects, random or non-random. The most you’ll generally get is some value from bouncing a 1-cost thing, because the majority of 2-cost cards in the meta give value when they’re played. The benefit of Bar and Pants is fairly evident. You get more climaxes to hand, and those climaxes move you towards throttling the opponent – especially Pants. Therefore, those make my shortlist for climaxes to play.

For the Bar combos, we have a choice between the TD Riki from the LBA TD, Level 3 Haruka from LBA, and the 2/1 Rin from Refrain. TD Riki is fine and doesn’t demand you focus on him – it’s not amazing, but it’s serviceable. If you don’t decide to focus on any given combo, this (or no combo) is probably the frontrunner choice.

Level 3 Haruka is demonstrably worse than Sasashi in the majority of situations, and the edge cases where her -1 Soul wins out are not worth the Level 3 slots she would otherwise occupy. No, she doesn’t have to discard when you clock kick, but you do have to play a climax, meaning that you go -1 all the same. If you have two Haruka on the field, you may as well just play Twins.dec. There is no reason to run a lower number of Sabini to accomodate Haruka, because it’s just adding more and more conditions onto what would otherwise be a strings-free finisher lineup.

Finally, . I have a lot of issues with this card. Firstly, it adds an excessive level of greed to an already-greedy deck. Yes, you get an insane amount of stock quickly. Yes, you have the power to play multiple money counters with ease. However, you lose so much control. Blind stock is not a good thing. Unless it is verifiably clean, it is something I aim to pay out as soon as possible. If you play this combo, you will often be getting at least two Rins on the field, putting a total of 4+ unknown cards in stock. This is less troubling if you immediately use your money counter afterwards, but there’s a problem with that rebuttal. Who said you wanted to money counter right afterwards? You can’t recur these counters very easily, and the only way you can get them, aside from drawing them naturally, is either by clocking, or pulling them to clock with utility Level 0s. You’re forced to either keep some amount of unknown stock, or you pay it out immediately for questionable purpose, and I dislike both of those options.

The last little criticism I have of this card is that you will usually refresh with the bar outside of your discard. Blind stockcharges do come from your deck, you know, and perhaps you had to brainstorm to get your second 2/1 Rin. Whether the bar is still in play or in your hand, that is one further climax that often doesn’t go back into your deck. It’s safe to say that I don’t like this climax combo, but I think I would still play it before I bother with the Haruka clock kick.

The bar trigger itself is great. You’ll charge blind stock, sure, but the likelihood of that being a climax is far lower than if you had triggered literally any other climax in the game (mostly because literally every other climax is a guaranteed climax in stock, kek). Next, you get a climax to play (or clock) next turn. You can also trigger it and immediately ditch it to a Tatami clock kick. This all contributes towards the rather violent goal of the deck. Lastly (and not insignificantly), it’s the only +1 trigger that shares a colour with the unfortunate green +2 soul. It’s yet another card you can clock to allow the PR +2 souls to hit the field.

Pro tip: If you want to stop LB from going the hell off, stick them at 0.5 or 0.6. They probably won’t be able to play both yellow and green on the next turn, at which point you can punish them for holding their climaxes by making them skip Level 1.

Finally, we come to Pants. and are the only viable climax combos with Pants in LB, and both do a similar thing – they allow you to maintain a field of characters even if you ram headfirst on all three lanes. Saya is a much better character in general, though you will likely not be using her change effect (who knows), while Kyousuke has the rather niche application of letting you reuse 3/2 Kyousukes and Satifas. I think that, if you were to play express vpn one, you’d be playing the Saya, and likely in conjunction with a one- or two-of Level 3. The simple ability to ram in for 2-2-2 and keep some blockers on the field is honestly quite tempting, but forcing blue at Level 2 (as opposed to letting it be sort-of optional until Level 3) puts a lot of strain on your hand and clock management. All in all, neither combo is super-impressive, but perhaps the unsupported Pants trigger itself will be good enough?

I initially really liked the idea of having these in the deck, as they let you recur the +2 souls so much more readily. After further thought, I decided that they weren’t a great idea. The issue with it that you will rarely get full value out of a second climax combo. Your search targets will likely all be in your hand or discard by the time you get around to using it a second time, and if you’re holding the +2 soul through your refresh, that’s a bit unfortunate. Moreover, +2 soul climaxes lose power as the game progresses, because even the least skilled of players will have a more compressed deck once refresh happens. The reason rushes work best at Level 1 or 2 is because the opponent has generally not done anything to alter their compression ratio. You’re taking advantage of a window during which the opponent just doesn’t have good defences against.

Out of all of this, I decided that bars are still the best triggers to play. If you want my reasoning, then feel free to re-read everything I just typed. I’ll be waiting.

still paying attention?

Now that I’m done talking about what made the cut (and why), I’m going to move on to what is arguably the more important part – the cards that DIDN’T make the cut (and why).

just isn’t good once you drop the 2k1s climaxes. You no longer kill anything of note with its buff. I also believe that clock encore is a more valuable ability to have than the extra 1k you would get from playing the 1/0 6ks ( and ), which is another factor in my decision not to include this card. You basically need to play bigger beaters, or else you aren’t even going to get into counter range of more sizeable Level 1 fields. Even if it could buff any character, I’m not too sure I would play this card.

is actually fine. I just think that Yuiko does the tap pay-2 thing better, because the ability to search Riki easily trumps the ability to search clock encores and clock kicks. This doesn’t even take into account the fact you can get Kyousukes, which are arguably the better spammable finisher anyway. Sorry Somomi, you’ll have to stick to your own deck.

The would actually be my second one of choice over the Kud, but I addressed Kud first due to the heavy saturation of plussing brainstorms in most prominent sets. This card is fine because you can manipulate soul (the power is nigh-irrelevant for most cases), but you have to think about the spectrum. Haruka is useful at basically any point during a match, while Sasami is only really useful later on. Why? Well, this particular deck cares less about soul manipulation and more about smacking your opponent with blunt objects repeatedly. Adding an extra point of damage when you’re about to slam a +2 soul climax… yeah, I don’t see this as being too helpful. Yes, it’s crude, but it’s often very effective. It’s very defensible to play at least one of these, though.

is just not that good in this deck. Every function she has is either irrelevant or fulfilled just as well by Haruka. She’s perfectly fine in other decks, where the additional power will often be the difference between being countered and being out of counter range, but you’ll be lucky to even get into counter range at all with this Level 1 spread. Basically, you eschew this for the same reasons you eschew the Komari I mentioned above. It’s not that either is a bad card, it’s more that you’re much better off playing climaxes and siding.

The various 2-cost plusses are defensible in this deck, but Riki and Rin together search practically anything you could possibly want, and Haruka generally has salvage locked up. I would try to steer clear from these, because the various assists do a good enough job of garnering you value for 2-cost, and you want to conserve your stock as much as you can anyway – extreme compression is one of this deck’s alternate wincons.

You already have a mandatory 4-of blue card. You may as well choose another colour for your beaters, if you absolutely need to have beaters at all. LB is a deck that wants to capitalise as much as it can on its incredible versatility in the mid- and endgame, and cards that are only ‘ok’ at Level 0 and basically nothing but fodder afterwards… nah. You’re playing a competitive goodstuffs, not a Saya waifu deck.

It’s a little more defensible to argue for yellow beaters, but yellow’s Level 0 utility cards are so much better than what green has to offer, making green a better choice for your 3.5ks slots. Additionally, yellow is such a core colour at every level that you have plenty of fixing for it. Half the time you won’t even be using 1/1 Kyousuke, so there you  go.

If you’re conservative, you could consider playing . These characters’ main function will obviously be to protect from climax flooding, but this deck’s natural defence from that is simply playing your climax combos and winning the damage race. If you have so many climaxes in hand that you absolutely need an additional discard outlet, you’ve likely lost already. Of these, the best one to play is the Saya, simply because it actually saves you in situations that basically nothing else can save you in. It’s also a hand encoreable beater.

It’s not at all wrong to play cards like this or . One of the very first topping builds of this deck ran the 2k1s and a heavy focus on the 1/1 Kyousuke assist, playing the full complement of 4. That results in a 2k buff to the center, which is pretty sizeable. Add that to the fact that Kyousuke cannot be countered with character punches, and you had a pretty decent kill card, sitting at a pretty 10k after 2k1s. The problem with this isn’t just that you’re missing out on the soul rush – there are some decks that you simply won’t be beating over consistently, because YGB LB is not built for that. In order to compete with the power decks of today, you have to warp your deck build around a mediocre 1/1 support (whose second effect may not even be relevant), play 1/0 and 0/0 counters that won’t be helping at all when it comes to some of your other cards, AND you need to run the 2k1s to really beat over things.

Honestly, as much as I’m soapboxing here, it’s fine to have a Kyousuke or two in the deck. Your backrow definitely doesn’t need to be two Kyousukes – one will do the job just fine, giving you a 7.5k if you have any other generic support in the back. Add the anti-counter ability in, and you probably will manage to kill something relevant. I just don’t think that it’s worth it, since the decks you can beat this way probably have Encore (or don’t care about losing field, like LB itself), and in order to fight bigger decks, you have to play so many power-centric cards that you kind of miss the point of the soul rush strategy.

There are two of note (not counting the promo Kanata). The former is pretty great against the likes of Nisekoi, Rewrite and Miku, mostly because your piddly 1/0s are still bigger than the 1/0 bombs they play. I still wouldn’t bother, I built my deck to lose its frontrow every turn and still not give a flop. The latter is… kind of weird, really. I have no idea why it featured in the US Nats list, and I continue to be baffled. It’s just not good at Level 1-2 unless you have a huge backrow (and even then you’re countering to what, 8k?), and later on you’d rather be spending your precious counter step throwing shekels at Musashi or a 3k counter at Marika. Thanks, but no thanks.

The main reason I choose not to play a is because it’s often not helpful. This deck has the potential to compress more than most, so the chances of you milling a climax are simply much higher than it would be with a normal deck. If you’re not well compressed, then it’s ok, but the payoff for having it in that situation isn’t so much better than the alternatives that I would actually make the swap. On the flipside, it IS in a much better colour than the majority of your alternatives, but that alone doesn’t cover for what I perceive as its shortcomings.

If I can say anything about , it’s that very few other cards have ever kept me awake at night, making me wonder exactly why the hell it’s ever been played in any deck, ever. Like, it checks topdeck when it gets front attacked, sure, but that is NOT enough to justify 2 stock on an unboosted 10k body, especially in a deck with guaranteed antidamage anyway. The other effect HAS to be the reason, right? If that’s the case, why oh why would you bother paying a cost like that when you can play a global soul climax (like the one you probably have to play in order to even turn the effect on) instead? It makes so little sense to me. You can’t even bounce backrow to reactivate Kyousukes in the Shana/LH matchups. I… I honestly can’t even think of good cards to bounce, sans like, Naotsugu from LH. Naotsugu is a card you can run over with appropriate boosts anyway. What. Even.

One of several you can consider playing. Healing on play is fine, especially if you’re in a matchup where you don’t need an antiheal ASAP. It can be a lifesaving play on occasion, too. This is actually a good card to hose Marikas with. In the case you just money countered a Marika, you can easily murder one of their other characters, then designate Marika as the character who won’t be standing again next turn. In order to swing at you with Marika again, they’ll have to play over her and salvage it, which, while not impossible, is an absolute chore. Aside from that, you can quite easily force the opponent to field more cards or push backrow up, which is nice, I guess. This is a slightly retarded combo with the 0/0 Yuiko bomb, but don’t go pretending that’s a reason to put more than one of this card into the deck.

is slightly less desirable than Kud because brainstorming (or yellow Pendant’ing) through the deck is generally easier than having to play over and salvage. A serviceable card that can sometimes remove Encore characters, and one that can be changed into, to boot. The real advantage that comes with this card is the excuse to also play the and her Pants trigger, which seems pretty fine. Forcing a blue Level 2 card in a deck that wants both green and yellow at Level 1 can get a bit awkward, but I’m sure you can make it work if you try. I still think this card is better suited to be in a deck with less greedy colour requirements.

Last but certainly not least, is arguably the best choice for your splashable heal. This is because her second effect is another one of those that basically guarantees 1 damage. The issue is, you rarely want to use that ability unless that 1 damage is actually going to push you to victory, because chances are that you’re ditching your last two cards (one of which might well be a money counter). It’s not even a cost you pay when the attack cancels – you basically have to toss resources and hope you get some mileage out of it, which doesn’t really appeal to me. I mean, sure, it’s another ‘finisher’, but you were hardly starved of those to begin with. It’s definitely a card that a lot of people play in their builds, but I’m not convinced that it plays a role better than that of Kyousuke or Sesame.

this article took a demoralisingly long amount of time and if WS was big at all then it would be one of those premium articles you’d have to pay $4.99 for, jesus christ this word count

There you have it. An extremely solid deck that cannot be easily disrupted and has arguably the best endgame of any series in WS. While it is reliant on getting the +2 soul to hand, it is inordinately powerful when it does, moreso than any other Level 1 climax combo centered deck in the game (with the possible exception of Do-Dai).

So, why doesn’t it see play in Japan? Japan is normally an excellent source for determining the JP game’s meta. People there take the game more seriously than almost anyone outside of the island nation, making for a metagame that develops rapidly and hits a ceiling just as rapidly. There’s a reason the same decks keep topping – these decks are good. If that’s the case, why isn’t LB anywhere to be found? Every tier list ripped off 2chan in the past few months has had a conspicuous lack of LB, or else has had it placed below the likes of SAO, DC and every possible build of KC, which I find to be blatantly incorrect. To get the answer, let us delve into an example from an entirely different cardgame – the Pokemon Trading Card Game.

If you’ve played Pokemon in the past few years, you’ll be well-acquainted with a card called Tropical Beach. It was a tremendously powerful Stadium card that, once played, allows both players to draw until they have 7 cards at any point during your turn. The cost is that your turn immediately ends. While this might not sound amazing (it is, trust me), many extremely powerful setup decks would pass in the first few turns of the game, meaning that having this card basically gave them an extra few cards at the end of each of their turns. We all know the value of extra cards. This card starred as a 3-of in many, many decks worldwide, and many players believed that some of the decks running this, such as Blastoise and Accelgor/Gothitelle, were the outright best decks in the game. However, very few people ran the card at all. And why was that the case?

Simple. The card’s only distribution was at two Worlds events. Each worlds participant got a sheet of nine, and anyone who made it to Top 32 got a further sheet for each victory. These sheets contained Tropical Beaches of various languages, but Pokemon has a language lock rule in effect, meaning that each sheet would only have a maximum of 2 or 3 legal copies for any given region. In short, the supply of Tropical Beaches was stupidly low. Because of this, many players were pigeonholed into playing other decks, even though those decks might not be what they believed to be the strongest tournament contender.

Fast forward to today. Tropical Beach has rotated out of format for 95% of the world, and is now illegal outside of specific formats. However, it should have remained legal in Japan. Japan plays a different format to the rest of the world, and Tropical Beach should have logically remained playable. However, Japan banned the card. They banned it because there was a ridiculous scarcity of the Japanese version, making it extraordinarily difficult to get those cards. It was literally an unfair advantage to have those cards. Japan is used to easy availability. In the Team Galactic SP era, cards like Luxray G Lv.X were going for $30-70 USD, depending on the time of year. However, the card’s price in Japan stayed lower than $10 USD for almost its entire competitive lifespan. The reason? Japan printed supremely-playable Ultra Rares in Trial Decks. Japan has a very different cardgaming culture, and values strategy and optimisation more than many other communities. The huge number of singles-toting cardgame stores in Akihabara and its regional equivalents should tell you that off the bat. However, some cards simply cannot be found, which leads me to my main point.

The LB promo +2 soul is bloody impossible to find. This would be fine if it was just an ancient, rare version of a card in common circulation (an example would be , which has four versions total). However, it is not. It is a unique card, and is only available in promo form. It was given out at one of the very first Bushiroad events, and has not been reprinted since. Very few people have it, and even fewer people are willing to sell them. Some lucky people have had them forever, while others have gotten them off auction sites in the past few months. Others are just stone out of luck.

There simply isn’t a reason to scour stores and wring out the web for copies of a climax that goes for $60 USD+ apiece. There isn’t a reason to drop $400-500 on a deck when you can make a super-competent Nisekoi or KC deck for under half of that price. Nisekoi has amazing zone control and can easily set up a ridiculous endgame. GFB can sort of mimic what YGB LB can do, it just lacks the money counters. KC is KC. Why would you throw money at a deck that isn’t even clearly the best in the game, and a deck that’s often a little bit hit-and-miss?

This admittedly rational attitude means that LB will never be popular, and decks that fail to be popular will fail to top widely. People in Japan do not just treat this as a waifu game – they take it seriously. However, they don’t take it so seriously as to universally cough up for what is only a moderate upgrade to yellow GFB.

I guarantee you that LB would be more popular if they had printed the +2 soul in the Refrain booster (or re-released it as a shop promo). This is the only real limiting factor on what is otherwise an extraordinary deck. Not only is it extraordinary, but it still has a long way to go before an optimal list is threshed out for any given metagame. I’m still changing out cards almost weekly because the cardpool affords you a deceptively large number of niche options, all of which do extremely well in various metagames.

Edit: LB topped in Osaka as I drafted this article – one of the two decks that 5-0’d the Swiss rounds. I don’t know whether to be angry that they invalidated my title, or to be smug in an intolerable ‘I told you so’ manner.

About lycheepunnet

the victim in an abusive relationship with cardboard
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